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Re: Social committee proposal

On Mon, Jun 04, 2007 at 11:05:02AM +0100, Ian Jackson wrote:
> > I don't quite get the idea of having a delegation where delegates are
> > voted upon. Imagine a conflict situation later - the leader can veto
> > their decisions, change charter, or even undelegate the whole thing.
> Yes.  But in practice the DPL rarely exercises that authority.  This
> puts the SC on the same footing as the ftpmasters, release managers,
> etc. etc. etc.

Well, if you imply that the DPL wouldn't use that authority to curb
an SC which was once elected but has since run amok, isn't that an even
worse? :)

> This latter is an important point: if the SC members are elected,
> their mandate - ie, their support from the Developers - is clearly
> established.
> People could complain that their robust style was being stifled by the
> majority but after all that is the whole point: to `stifle' the
> `excessively robust style' (ie, flames and other crap).  At least they
> won't be able to claim `the lurkers support me in email', `it's only a
> junta which is deciding this' and so on.

Good. Now that you have established all these reasons why the soc-ctte
members should be properly elected, why not have their legitimate election
be their right to exist, rather than the DPL's delegation? :)

> It seems to me that one election will probably be sufficient to make
> the general views of developers clear.  But if not the SC has the
> ability to request further elections, and if the DDs think it should
> but the SC won't then a DPL decision or GR can force an election or
> abolish it.

Having regular elections would greatly contribute to a sense of
accountability, and it would be a decent guarantee that the clarity of the
general views of developers is maintained over time. That's both among the
soc-ctte members and among the rest of the developers.
For these reasons, I think it's best if it's set up like that in the first
place, rather than having later elections optional.

> > I still think that we should organize a proper GR to put a basic framework
> > into the constitution, and then vote on the members regularly.
> Firstly, the SC is an experiment.  It should be able to change the way
> it works in response to how things go - and the DPL should be able to
> do likewise.
> Secondly, entrenching the SC is daft.  The SC has no powers that the
> DPL already doesn't.  Do you think that the DPL and Delegates' power
> to (for example) ban people from mailing lists should be abolished ?
> Are you proposing that the DPL and and the SC should have overlapping
> powers ?

If you go back to the original soc-ctte thread, you will notice that we
already discussed the extent of the soc-ctte powers. Nobody actually
proposed measures as concrete (or as harsh) as you did, to be put into
the constitution. It was fairly clear that there would be multiple options
on the ballot, for people to choose between several options of various

> Note that the existing arrangements for dividing jurisdiction between
> the TC and the DPL don't always work very well.  Often we end up
> arguing about jurisdiction, although this may be because the TC is the
> only non-dysfunctional mechanism we have for resolving general
> disputes between developers, so it gets the social disputes as well as
> technical ones.

Yeah. (Would you mind quoting an example or two, so that we're in the
clear about what exactly is meant?)

> > Social committee would deal with "mere" social matters, but we appear to
> > have ample precedent by now to indicate that such matters are sensitive
> > enough to need checks and balances.
> The SC has _fewer_ checks and balances if it is entrenched in the
> constitution.  With my proposal, the SC can be overruled by the DPL or
> GR.  This means that if the SC is going off-course the DPL can have a
> quiet word.

I'm not sure that I like the idea of solving matters by having a quiet
word between someone who was elected but has a stick, and people who are
just elected.

And the prospect of leader intervening into the committee certainly won't
help with all the Cabal(TM) talk...

> If the SC is entrenched then (a) how do you divide controversies
> between DPL and SC and (b) who can overrule the SC ?

Well, I guess I have to refer you to the previous long thread, the one
started on January 25th with Message-ID: <20070125181136.GA20834@keid.carnet.hr>

In short, and if I remember correctly, the previous proposal was that the
soc-ctte first decides whether a matter is a social matter, i.e. whether
they feel they should deliberate on it. If they decide so (and there was
an internal voting mechanism specified), they take on the issue; if they
can't decide if it's technical or social, they defer judgement to the
technical committee. I don't think anyone seriously recommended that a
social matter can be better decided by the leader, do you think we could
have such matters? Note that we could still have that by way of soc-ctte
asking the leader to decide instead of them :)

     2. That which causes joy or happiness.

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